UC Irvine hosted Israel's ambassador to the U.S. Monday and--surprisingly--his address was only interrupted 16 times and a mere 12 students were arrested. Campus officials must be thrilled.
After all, given the ongoing Israel-Arab World theatrics regularly played out at the otherwise sleepy institution of higher learning, UCI officials had to know what they were in for. It's a huge win for them that Ambassador Michael Oren only had to be escorted off stage a couple times by handlers.
Oren was interrupted 10 times by members of UCI's Muslim Student Union. After shout-down No. 4, Oren left the stage for 20 minutes, returned and was interrupted six more times.
"Michael Oren, propaganda murder is not an expression of free speech," yelled one young man.
"Shut up!" a woman could be heard telling the shouter.
"You, sir, are an accessory to murder," bellowed a guy in an orange shirt at another point.
Before Oren took his unscheduled break, political science professor (and former Weekly contributor) Mark Petracca addressed the crowd.
"This is not an example of free speech," Petracca, who years ago wrote the Weekly's "Man Bites Dogma" column, told the uninvited speakers. "Those of you who are intent on disrupting this event, now that you've made your point, stand up and leave."
That brought cheers.
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"I hope that the consequences of disrupting this event may outweigh any drama that you may have in store," Petracca later told the students.
Some of those consequences seemed to be dished out by a bearded man wearing a yarmulke. As students were being escorted out of the chambers, he informed them, "You are failing your exam."
You can see footage of all this in Amy Goodman's Democracy Now! report, which begins at about 10:30 minutes into the video found here: